Vegan Menus: part 1

Something that I truly enjoy about my current job is that I’m given the opportunity to be creative and think like a chef. My Executive Sous Chef extended a challenge to all of the cooks to create a vegan dish for when we did plate ups. A plate up is when we finally place the food on the dish for our guests to eat.  All of the other cooks shrugged it off and acted as though it wasn’t part of the job. For me, I saw an opportunity to learn and take myself to the next level. Since doing that challenge, I have now been in charge of executing all “special meals” for buffets and plated lunches and dinners. It has been very demanding at times, but the only true way to grow is to dive in headfirst and see if you can swim. Like anything in life, you need to just say yes when an opportunity or challenge presents itself, and see where it will take you. My mind is starting to work like a chef, where I explore our walk in cooler to see what’s on hand and to make a dish from it. Here are some of the plates that I have put together thus far:

 

The first plate that I had made was a Spanish quinoa stuffed tomato with sautéed spinach, roasted cauliflower and mini bell pepper, and a piquillo pepper coulis.

FullSizeRender (3)

Quinoa stuffed tomatoes:

  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • ¼ cup Corn
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • ¼ cup canned black beans (drained and washed)
  • 1 teaspoon Chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon juice
  • 3 Compari tomatoes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Bring two cups of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan with a pinch of salt. Once at a boil, throw in the quinoa, cover and lower to a simmer. Cook the quinoa until all of the water is absorbed, about 20 min.
  2. While the quinoa is cooking, slice the bottoms off the tomatoes so that they can stand up on the plate. Next, use the tip of your knife to carve out the top of the tomato, and use a spoon to scoop out the guts.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix the corn kernels with olive oil and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until they have gained some color. Set aside to cool.
  4. Mix together the quinoa, corn, cilantro, cumin, paprika, black beans, chili powder, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Adjust all of the seasonings to your taste preferences.
  5. Stuff the tomatoes with the quinoa mixture, and bake in the oven for 5-8 min.

 

Piquillo pepper coulis:

  • 1 can Piquillo peppers
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Blend the piquillo peppers adding olive oil until smooth. Add salt and pepper until desired taste. Heat when ready to serve

Walnut and lentil steak with beet purée, saffron poached baby golden beets, asparagus and broccolini

FullSizeRender (4)

Walnut Lentil Patty:

  • 3 tablespoons Walnuts (toasted and chopped)
  • 2 cups Green lentils
  • 1/4 cup shredded Peeled Apple
  • 1/4 cup shredded Sweet Potato
  • 1/4 cup minced Onion
  • 1/4 minced Celery
  • 1/4 minced Carrot
  • Oat flour (literally blended up old fashion quaker oats)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup Ground Flaxseed
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix the flaxseed with water in a bowl until it starts to have the consistency of egg whites, set aside.
  3. Bring 3 cups of water and the 2 cups of lentils to a boil for 3 minutes, reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer lentils for 15-20 min until soft with a slight bight to them.
  4. Use a box grater to grate the apple and the potato, set aside in a bowl of water. *The water will keep them from oxidizing and going brown.
  5. Mince carrots, celery, and onion. Heat a saute pan over medium heat with olive oil. Cover the pan and sweat the carrots, celery and onion until celery and onion are slightly translucent, about 3-5 minutes. set aside and cool.
  6. When the lentils are done, drain the water, take 3/4 of the lentils and put in a food processor. Mix until a paste forms. Set both paste and whole lentils aside to cool.
  7. Drain and squeeze out the excess water from the apple and potatoes.
  8. Once everything is cooled, throughly mix together by hand all ingredients except the oat flour and flaxseed mixture. Tablespoon at a time add oat flour and flaxseed until the mixture becomes firm enough to roll into a ball or form into a patty. Taste and adjust all seasonings.
  9. Forms patties and set aside on a sprayed and foil wrapped sheet tray. Bring a saute pan with olive oil to medium-high heat. place the patty in the pan a sear both sides until golden brown, return to the sheet tray. when all patties are seared, bake the patties for 10 minutes.

 

Red Beet Puree:

  • 2 bunches Red Beets (trimmed, unpeeled)
  • 1/4 cup Orange Juice
  • Honey
  • Chopped Tarragon (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  1. Wrap beets in foil, bake at 350 degree for 1 hour, or until soft.
  2. When the beets are done, take a paper towel and rub the skin of the beet off. (when either roasting or boiling beets, when hot the skin and easily be removed with a towel)
  3. Cut the beets into smaller pieces and put in the blender with orange juice, blend until smooth.  If using tarragon, blend it in now. Add honey, salt and pepper until desired taste

 

Teriyaki marinated tofu with sauteed spinach, button mushrooms, fried shishito peppers, sliced radish and tri-color carrots, carrot ginger puree.

FullSizeRender (5)

Teriyaki Glazed Tofu:

  • Firm Tofu
  • Sesame seeds
  • Teriyaki glaze:
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sweet rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon minced or microplane garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon minced or microplane ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium sauce pan combine all ingredients except cornstarch and the tbsp water.Mix over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.  Mix tbsp water and cornstarch in a bowl on the side.
  3. once the sugar is dissolved, add in the cornstarch mixture and simmer over medium high heat until thickened.
  4. In a medium frying pan heat a little olive oil over medium high heat. Season your tofu with salt and pepper, searing on both sides until golden brown.
  5. when done searing put on a foil covered and sprayed sheet pan, cover with the glaze and bake for 7-9 minutes.

*for shishito peppers if you have a little fryer or a pan with oil, these literally take 45 seconds to cook. as soon as you see the exterior become white, pull them out.

Carrot Ginger Puree:

  • 8 sliced carrots
  • medium size piece of ginger
  1. in a pot of water bring the carrots and a few pieces of ginger to a boil. cook the carrots until soft. drain the water, and take out most of the ginger besides a piece or two.
  2. Add the carrots and ginger to a blender. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and blend until smooth, adding water little by little until its blending freely. Add salt and pepper to taste

Spanish quinoa cake with roasted cauliflower and mini bell peppers, spinach sauteed with bell pepper and red onion, pickled radish,and roasted tomato and chipotle coulis.

FullSizeRender (7)

Spanish Quinoa Patty:

  • 2 cups Quinoa
  • 1/4 cup charred Corn kernals
  • 1/4 cup Cannded Black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/4 cup diced Bell peppers
  • 1/4 cup minced Onion
  • Oat flour (literally blended up old fashion quaker oats)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup Ground Flaxseed
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Mix the flaxseed with water in a bowl until it starts to have the consistency of egg whites, set aside.
  3. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add 2 cups of Quinoa, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer quinoa for 15 min until all of the water is absorbed, and there is a white ring around the quinoa. Set aside and cool.
  4. Mince onion, and dice the bell pepper. Heat a saute pan over medium heat with olive oil. Cover the pan and sweat the onions until slightly translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add in bell pepper and quickly saute until soft. set aside and cool.
  5. Coat corn kernels in olive oil and roast in a 450 degree oven until slightly charred, aside and cool.
  6. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.
  7. Once everything is cooled, throughly mix together by hand all ingredients except the oat flour and flaxseed mixture. Tablespoon at a time add oat flour and flaxseed until the mixture becomes firm enough to roll into a ball or form into a patty. Taste and adjust all seasonings.
  8. Forms patties and set aside on a sprayed and foil wrapped sheet tray. Bring a saute pan with olive oil to medium-high heat. place the patty in the pan a sear both sides until golden brown, return to the sheet tray. When all patties are seared, bake the patties at 350 degree for 10 minutes.

Roasted Tomato and Chipotle Coulis:

  • 4-6 Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Chipotle in Adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
  • Honey
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. Turn on broiler to high. cover the tomatoes in olive oil and place it on a foil cover sheet pan. Broil in the over until evenly charred.
  2. put tomatoes and lemon juice in a blender and pulse until smooth. Add in chipotle little by little until you find the heat level you desire, and add honey to balance out the heat. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.